1. Homebuyers' Walkthrough: Introduction
  2. Homebuyers' Walkthrough: Reasons to Buy
  3. Homebuyers' Walkthrough: Buying New vs. Previously Owned
  4. Homebuyers' Walkthrough: Considerations When Buying a Home
  5. Homebuyers' Walkthrough: Which Type of Mortgage Is Best?
  6. Homebuyers' Walkthrough: Obtaining a Mortgage
  7. Homebuyers' Walkthrough: Buying a First Home
  8. Homebuyers' Walkthrough: When to Sell and Buy a Move-Up Home
  9. Homebuyers' Walkthrough: Homes for Retirement
  10. Homebuyers' Walkthrough: Conclusion

A home is usually the single largest investment you’ll ever make. Homeownership has many advantages, including the ability to build equity and take advantage of certain tax deductions, such as the mortgage interest deduction if you itemize deductions on your taxes. It’s also easier to “make your house a home” if you buy (instead of rent) since you can paint, decorate, plant a garden and renovate as you see fit. (Caveat: Some communities have homeowners associations that restrict your options; research those rules if you're looking somewhere that is governed by an HOA.)

Needless to say, buying a house or apartment is a serious commitment. In addition to paying your mortgage every month, you’ll be responsible for insurance, property taxes, maintenance and repairs – which cost money and time. It’s a good idea to carefully evaluate if you’re ready to buy a home (financially and emotionally) before you begin the process. If not, put your plans on the back burner for now and figure out what it will take to become ready.

Once you're prepared to take that step, find a real estate agent whom you can trust to help you find a perfect home – and start looking at those real estate search engines. This tutorial will help you understand the steps and the characteristics to consider as you enter that process and find your new home.

Many real estate agents who bought a home before becoming a real estate professional will tell you they wish they had taken their licensing classes prior to becoming a homeowner so they would have better understood the process. With that in mind, if you’re thinking about becoming a homeowner, go into it armed with as much knowledge as you can muster. That way, you’ll be more confident, be able to make better decisions, ask better questions and have an easier time finding a perfect place to call home.

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